Tag Archives: Image comics

New Girls in Town: Top 10 Toughest New Female Characters in Comics

16 Mar

I think a case can be made for any of these characters. Each one is tough, and thoroughly unique. Let’s take it from the top shall we? I wanted to look at characters with relatively short histories, so Barbara Gordon and Kate Bishop will not be making appearances on this list. This is strictly for the next generation of comic heroines. So without further ado, let’s talk about the top-10 toughest new girls in comics.

 

alanaAlana – Saga

It was hard to choose just one woman to represent the cast of Saga from Image Comics by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. The Stalk, Izabel, Gwendolyn, Klara, and even Lying Cat could have been on this list. I ultimately decided on Alana because she faces off with bad guys, pilots a space ship, and saves the love of her life with a newborn in tow. Despite her extreme circumstances she manages to be a pretty great mom to Hazel. She doesn’t allow herself to be defined by her maternal role, but she takes it very seriously.

 

 

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Izzy Dare/Smasher – The Avengers

Isabel “Izzy” Dare, or Smasher, gets her own issue in Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers from Marvel Comics (Avengers #5). We learn that this incarnation of the hero is a small-town girl from Iowa. She is a brilliant science student who returns from her studies to help her father take care of the family farm and spend time with her ailing grandfather, Dan Dare (who had quite a few adventures of his own back in the day). After finding a pair of cybernetic goggles in a corn field she becomes an intergalactic defender, Smasher. She saves the world, rises through the ranks, and becomes an Avenger to boot. She also takes her responsibilities to her loved ones very seriously. She juggles superpowers and deep familial love quite well.

 

Harper_RowHarper Row – Batman

In Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo for DC Comics we find a host of powerful characters, but Harper has captured our imaginations, well mine at least. She is a headstrong, brave, and intelligent young woman who believes in Batman’s power as a symbol of hope and does everything in her power to make sure he always makes it out of his conflicts alive. She recognizes his mortality and her ability to help him. Despite his warnings to stay away, she knows that she is an invaluable ally to the Caped Crusader, and continues to provide assistance. In addition to her complex relationship with Batman, she serves as a mother figure for her little brother, Cullen, and would stop at nothing to defend him. She is a dynamic new defender of Gotham.

Mara – Maramara

I think the reason that I am so impressed with the title character from the Image Comics series, Mara, by Brian Wood, Ming Doyle, & Jordie Bellaire is due to the surprise I experienced while reading about her. She is a seventeen-year-old superstar. She has access to unlimited resources, and fame enough to make a Kardashian feel like a nobody. She is beautiful, talented, wealthy, and adored. Yet she instead of being the primadonna one might expect; she is poised and unyieldingly brave. When she begins to manifest super-human abilities, she boldly confronts the public. She refuses to be terrorized into compromising her character.

 

hawkeye8Cherry/Penny – Hawkeye

I love a girl that keeps the men in her life on their toes. This redheaded force of nature from Fraction & Aja in Hawkeye from Marvel Comics does just that. She uses her sexuality to charm Clint Barton into taking part in her schemes. She is unafraid to take on a challenge or to stack the deck in her favor. She may not be the most independent woman in the world, but she does not shy away from danger. She’s a nice throwback to the comic book bad girls of days gone by.

 

 

 

pearlPearl Jones – American Vampire

From the Vertigo Comic series American Vampire by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque, comes this impossibly strong character. What I love about Pearl is that she starts out a victim, but refuses to remain one. Her evolution over the course of the series has been a journey of self acceptance, growth, and empowerment. The Pearl we know today is a far cry from the Hollywood hopeful taken advantage of in the beginning of this series. She has become intensely powerful force; knowing her vulnerabilities and her history makes her inspiring and endearing.

 

 

olivechewOlive Chu – Chew

The daughter of Tony Chu, the central character in Chew from Image Comics by John Layman and Rob Guillory, has recently started coming into her own. Olive was previously little more than an angst-ridden teen (albeit an incredibly lovable one). In recent issues under the tutelage of Mason Savoy, she has begun to hone her abilities and learn new skills that promise to give her a new role in this one-of-a-kind series.

 

 

 

tamaradevouxTamara Devoux/Captain Universe – The Avengers

So, she has the power of the entire universe coursing through her. Seems tough to me. Jonathan Hickman gives us another example of a strong and complex female character from The Avengers from Marvel Comics. Despite the awful things that happened to her before becoming the host for universal power, Tamara has already saved the world once in this new role.

fatalejoJospehine – Fatale

In the series Fatale from Image Comics by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips we are introduced to the mysterious and powerful character, Jo. She can bend any man alive to her will. Jo also seems to be immortal or at least ageless. She has a unique connection to supernatural forces, and a survival instinct that makes her a true fighter. She takes on physical challenges and devastating circumstances at every turn. Her resilience is truly remarkable.

 

 

 

Eva_Bell  Eva Bell – All New X-men Uncanny X-men 

Brian Michael Bendis’ contributions to Marvel’s X-men universe already shine in this new character. Eva can freeze time. As a young mutant, she is unsure of herself and her powers, but with each issue she appears in she grows more confident and bettered respected by the members of her team. She is a truly powerful new mutant.

 

I will be the first to admit this last is anything but complete. Write in and tell me who should have been listed that I missed, or let me know if you think there is a clear number one on the list. Be sure to vote. I will repost this list in the order that you vote in.

comment here or e-mail me comicsonice@gmail.com, and follow me on twitter @comicsonice

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Mind the Gap and Self-Generated Identity: The Clues We Choose

16 Mar

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Mind the Gap and Self-Generated Identity: The Clues We Choose

I’ve written a new Mirror Image feature for Image Addiction, about Image Comics’ Mind the Gap by Jim McCann, Rodin Esquejo, and Sonia Oback discussing Elle Peterssen’s amnesia, the clues that lead her back to her identity, and Facebook. Are we what we buy, read, watch, listen to, wear, eat, drink, and like? What do our friends tell us about who we are?  Check it out! Tell me what you think.

http://imageaddiction.net/mind-the-gap-and-self-generated-identity-the-clues-we-choose/

Follow me on twitter @comicsonice

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Modernity & Mythology: What Saga Tells Us About Ourselves for Image Addiction

26 Feb

Modernity & Mythology: What Saga Tells Us About Ourselves for Image Addiction

Just posted a new Mirror Image feature on the Image Addiction website. I hope you’ll stop by and take a look.

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Review of Saga #10 for Image Addiction

20 Feb

Review of Saga #10 for Image Addiction

I posted a review of Saga #10 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples on the Image Addiction website, go visit and find out more.

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Review of Revival #7 for Image Addiction

20 Feb

Review of Revival #7 for Image Addiction

I posted a review of Revival #7 by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton for Image Comics on the Image Addiction website, stop by and check it out!

Follow me on twitter @comicsonice

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Review – The End Times of Bram and Ben #2

19 Feb

Review – The End Times of Bram and Ben #2

Check out my review of The End Times of Bram and Ben #2 by Asmus, Festante, and Broo published by Image Comics for Image Addiction here. 

 

 

The Encomium of Josephine: The Exoneration of a Disastrous Woman

14 Feb

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In the series Fatale, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips published by Image Comics; the main character Josephine, or “Jo,” is a moral gray area. Is she a hero, or a villain?

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To begin, there should be no ambiguity regarding the meaning of the term, “femme fatale,” which translated from French literally reads, “disastrous woman.” The dictionary goes on to define the term  as, “a seductive woman who lures men into dangerous or compromising situations,” or “a woman who attracts men by an aura of charm and mystery.” Using this definition as a rubric, how does Brubaker’s leading lady, Jo, stack up?

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Jo is certainly mysterious; she is certainly beautiful. She has power and influence over the stronger sex, which she seems capable of wielding to various degrees of accuracy and deadliness. She does seem to enact Murphy’s Law on the men who cross her path. Once she is a part of their lives; anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. However, to this point in the series, Brubaker has lead us to see Jo as a reluctant vessel for this power. While manipulating the men who surround her, she often develops strong feelings of affection, if not love, for them. When calamity consumes her lovers, she seems to feel genuine remorse and sorrow. So, that leads naturally to the next question I will ask: is there such a thing as a reluctant femme fatale; or does the term by definition imply intent?

Case Study: Helen of Troy

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“…she had godlike beauty, which having received she not inconspicuously retained. She produced the greatest erotic desires in most men. For one body many bodies of men came together…”
-Gorgias “The Encomium of Helen”

According to ancient Greek legend, Helen was the most beautiful woman ever to have lived. She belonged to Sparta; she was their queen. Her lover, Paris, was a Trojan prince. He took her away with him, to live happily ever after. As is so often the case when a young man takes a bride, an epic war broke out; taking the lives of countless men, destroying families and permanently altering history. Helen has been given the monicker, “The face that launched a thousand ships.” She has been vilified and berated for centuries.

Was she to blame for the effect she had on the men of her day?

Between 480-380 B.C.E. a Greek Sophist, called Gorgias, set out to accomplish the great feat of exonerating Helen in his speech, “The Encomium of Helen.” He posited that Helen’s actions (leaving Sparta and starting the Trojan War) were the result of one of four things: fate, force, persuasion, or love; and the if any of these were the culprit, she was blameless. Could the same be said for Josephine, the heroine in Fatale?

FATE:

“For the will of a god cannot be hindered by human forethought.” – Gorgias

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It is clear that Jo is a piece of a much larger puzzle. Brubaker takes care to establish that she is cursed, and this curse touches every facet of her existence.

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There are worldly forces controlling her fate…

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And that the rules of this mortal existence do not apply to her.

FORCE:

“But if she was abducted by force, unlawfully constrained and unjustly victimized, it is clear on the one hand that the abductor, as victimizer, committed injustice…” – Gorgias

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It is clear time and again, that Jo is motivated by her fear of violence and victimization. The consequences she would face if she fell into the hands of her adversaries are great enough that she will do anything to avoid facing them. Her fear suppresses her conscience. The threat of violence is tantamount to force in this case.

PERSUASION:

“Persuasion belonging to discourse shapes the soul at will,” – Gorgias

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The truth is, we still do not know how Jo came by the power she possesses. Did she willingly acquiesce, was she tricked into it, or did she come into existence already endowed with this fatal beauty? The panel above seems to indicate that she was somehow initiated into this life.

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However, we learn later that she was not fully educated on her power, or the potential harm she could generate. This might suggest that there was an element of trickery or deception in her initial encounter which led to her acquiring this power. If she was deceived in the beginning and not made fully aware of the devastation she could cause; can she be held responsible?

LOVE:

“If Love, being a god, has the divine power of gods, how could the weaker being have the power to reject this and to ward it off?” – Gorgias

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Time and again, Jo thinks of her affectionate feelings for the men who come in and out of her life. She never takes for granted those who come to her assistance, and seems genuinely invested in her partners.

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She never discounts the sincerity and earnestness of her lovers feelings for her. In fact, she seems as incapable of stopping herself from reciprocating those feelings as she is of inspiring them.

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Jo even puts herself in harms way to protect those who love her, braving bullets and a fiery crash to save Nicholas Lash.

How then is it necessary to regard as just the blame of Helen, who either passionately in love or persuaded by discourse or abducted by force or constrained by divine constraints did the things she did, escaping responsibility every way? By this discourse I have removed infamy from a woman… – Gorgias

Jo is a force of nature, not a malicious temptress praying on the innocent. Find it in your heart to pardon her, and pick up this beautiful series from Image comics here: http://www.comixology.com/Fatale-1/digital-comic/NOV110354

Follow me on twitter @comicsonice

And find more of my writing at http://imageaddiction.net/ 

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Review of The Manhattan Projects #9

12 Feb

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Review of The Manhattan Projects #9

Please check out this review I wrote for The Manhattan Projects #9 by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra

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Review Fatale #12

12 Feb

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Review Fatale #12

Please check out the review I wrote for Image Addiction on Fatale #12 by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

What’s Love Got to Do With It? Attitudes Toward Sexuality in Revival

5 Feb

My, oh my, these girls have interesting ideas about the function and nature of sexuality. This post examines the role that sexuality plays in the series Revival by Tim Sheeley and Mike Norton, published by Image comics. You should know that if you are not caught up on issues 1-6, you should be… no really, go pick them up now, and this contains *SPOILERS* so be warned.

All images below are from Mike Norton’s interior artwork.

Let’s start with Dana. She had a child, as a teenager; this apparently left her with a litany of torments that manifest in attitudes toward her body and her sexuality.

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Above, we see Em referring to the strain that Dana’s pregnancy placed on her relationship with her father. Em believes that Dana is driven by a need for her father’s approval, this makes her so interesting. Its possible that she has passed down her own hang ups about her father, to her son, Cooper.

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When addressing a childlike entity he has seen in the woods, Cooper lays out the aim of the game he has created starring his action figures. Admiral Peppercorn wants to make his dad proud. These are Dana’s words in Cooper’s mouth.

Dana’s words tell us more than she means for them to as she complains about her body.

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She is continually self-deprecating in the face of compliments. An unplanned pregnancy can leave you feeling a bit violated. The damage or scars you wear as a result of the pregnancy feel like they are blazing neon, and screaming louder than anything else about you. I am not sure if the creators realized how on target they were in putting this detail in, but I applaud them. Then we get to the really interesting stuff. Image

After a rough day, Dana seeks comfort in anonymous sex. Her personality is remarkably different in this episode. She is confident, playful, and authoritative. The encounter ends when she receives a phone call and Ibraham realizes that they will be working together. Her coquettish demeanor is terminated along with the prospect of consummating in the back seat. The next time she sees her would-be-lover, this happens. Image

 

Though Dana was fully invested in the initiation of the tryst the pair share, she now resents the unspoken implications that the event will have on Ibraham’s opinion of her. She believes that he sees her as weak, oversexed, and under-qualified. There is no reason for her to draw these conclusions; as readers we have to assume that she is referring to a past episode that actually did play out the way she is presuming this will. Again, I will bring up the sense of violation she might have internalized as a result of her unplanned pregnancy. Dana does not like being vulnerable, she becomes combative when she feels that someone might have insight to her personal struggles. For her, anonymity in sexual encounters preserves her power and agency.

 

Em’s feelings about her affair with Professor Aaron Weimar inform her choices throughout the series.

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The affair has ended, and I assume that the experience of being cast aside has left Em feeling devalued. In response she continually seeks out dangerous scenarios to either relive, or distract herself from, the lasting pain this relationship has caused her. Her high-risk behaviors become beautiful symbol; harkening to that old adage, sticks and stones may break my bones… She can survive anything, but this is killing her.

Lastly I’d like to take a look as Jamie Hettinga. She is involved in an extramarital affair with her step-brother, Justin Hine. Jamie’s life is a hectic onslaught of threats and public scrutiny. The affair seems to resent an escape from the pressures she faces, an indulgence taking place away from the public eye.

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Jamie seems empowered by the source affection and attention she has found in her step-brother Justin. However, she finds Justin disemboweled, not sleeping, and the reality that she is involved in something insidious begins to set in. It seems that the aim of the murderer may have been to make her feel ashamed, and point out the element of betrayal that underlies her actions.

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Jamie throws her bloody lingerie in the trash after finding Justin’s body. Is this action the result of shame, or just Jamie trying to escape the consequences of her choices?

It seems that in the case of Dana and Jamie, sex provides an escape from the consequences of stress and violence. For Em, however; violence may represent the escape for the consequences of sex. The varying degrees of shame and secrecy that surround all of the relationships in the series only add to its mystery. Now seriously, if you haven’t already, go read it. I could not write this much about something that was not truly stellar, thought provoking, and original.

http://www.comixology.com/Revival-1/digital-comic/MAY120495

 

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